Set your own price for your solar power

An energy market where you can set your own price for solar

A trading platform for electricity where you can choose who you buy from, and who you sell to. It’s not far off, and it has the potential to completely reconfigure the energy market.

The political and commercial environment for renewable energy is not what it should be. Despite the fact that 97% of the scientific community agree that global warming is real and poses a significant threat, we are still seeing billions of dollars poured into subsidising polluters, and too many prominent public figures still casting doubt over the reality of man made climate change and the science that measures it.

But despite a lack of action at the big end of town, many, many Australians like yourself have taken matters into their own hands. Solar rooftop installation are generating clean energy all over the country and the numbers are increasing every day. Queensland is leading the way with over 30% of residences equipped with solar rooftop generators. Source: http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/historical

These systems are capable of generating power for the residences and in many cases, are also feeding power back into the grid.

The hidden catch

But here’s the catch. The big energy companies are not paying anywhere near the market rate for the energy that household solar generators are feeding back into the grid. On average, as the owner of a rooftop solar system, you can expect somewhere around 6c /kwh, while the energy companies will sell the energy back at around 29c /kwh. In some cases, a consumer can actually generate more electricity than he or she uses and still pay hundreds of dollars per quarter to their energy provider. Source: http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/fairpricefacts

According to Solar Citizens, once the reduction in transport costs, transmission and CO2 is taken into account a fair price should be between 10c and 18c. Unfortunately the price is set by the power companies, and due to the structure of the system, rooftop solar owners have no say in the price at which they sell their electricity.

To address this situation, the Solar Citizens are driving a campaign to put pressure on government to regulate a minimum price for solar and therefore stop energy companies from taking advantage of energy producers. http://www.solarcitizens.org.au/fairprice.

Given the rigid structure of the energy system, and the lack of options available, this solution has some merit, and we certainly support the ethos behind it, but we at Localvolts have a bolder plan.

If the system is the problem, change the system

The fundamental problem in the situation described above is that you, the people who are generating the rooftop energy are powerless to affect the price at which you sell energy back to the grid. There is only one customer, and that is your electricity provider, and they are dictating your price. It’s a backward system where the price is set by the buyer.

Localvolts is a new system for buying and selling electricity. It is a system based on a free market, where you, the producer, can set your own price, and as a consumers you can search the market for a supplier that you want to buy from. If you want to buy renewable energy, you can set up your preferences to ensure that you never pay a cent to another coal fired power plant. (Assuming the market can sustain the demand for renewables).

Get involved

Localvolts is in Beta development at the moment and we are looking for community support to get our platform online by crowdfunding the initial development stage.

To help the Localvolts project, become a financial supporter for as little as $5, or just stay in touch by join our mailing list to stay up to date with our progress as we build a better, fairer energy system for the Australia.

About Us

One can argue whether it was James Watt, Thomas Edison, or Nikola Tesla who created the electricity grid that led to the development of our modern civilisation where energy, and electrical energy in particular, is central to most aspects of human endeavour.

The advent of the electricity grid provided us with cheap and abundant energy, but control of the industry rested in the hands of a few big companies and policymakers.

Despite the proliferation of localised energy devices like solar photovoltaic generators, controllable appliances, and emerging battery storage technologies; and people’s preference for consuming energy from renewable sources, the modern electricity supply industry operates the same as before: control of the production, transportation, and retailing of electricity remains in the hands of a few corporations and policymakers.

Localvolts believes that people are ready to take control of their energy needs – all they need is access to the markets and the tools to exercise their choice simply and transparently.

In many countries, a significant number of households already make and export their electricity into the grid for use by their neighbours. Now, Localvolts will let these individuals decide at what price they wish to sell their energy, and to whom.

Similarly, consumers will be able to choose their own energy supplier, be it a neighbour, a friend, or a preferred generator in the country.

 

big-picture

Interestingly, existing rules in twenty-four countries allow individuals to take control of their energy right now; it’s just that doing business in the electricity sector is very complex and very expensive, meaning one must be reasonably big to operate there.

Localvolts will meet all the regulatory conditions, handle all the complexity inherent with being in the electricity industry, and provide an on-line platform to the individuals to meet and trade electricity simply and transparently.

Localvolts plans to start operating in Australia first with other contestable electricity markets to follow.

We call this peer-to-peer electricity.

But we need your help.

We need to build a platform and obtain regulatory permissions before we can offer our services. This requires an investment of several millions of dollars; your contribution will get us started on building the peer-to-peer trading platform after which we will tackle the regulatory and operating challenges.

Support Localvolts

Founder

As one cannot store electricity, supply and demand must balance at all times on the grid. Existing market and system operators do this for bulk supply trades. Jitendra Tomar developed a solution to balance generation and consumption in real-time for millions of individuals traders. He also believes most individuals prefer to make their own decisions, and given the right tools and information, will do so in the field of electricity as well.

Supporters

New South Wales Government

Localvolts has been supported in part by the Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development through the Innovate NSW program.